Canada: Far Fewer Young People Using Cannabis

CANADA:  Cannabis use among Canadian adolescents has declined significantly in recent years, and fewer teens say that it is easy to obtain, according to data published in the journal Preventive Medicine.

Investigators at the University of Waterloo in Ontario assessed teen marijuana use trends for the years 2004 to 2015. Researchers reported that adolescent use fell nearly 50 percent between the years 2008/2009 and 2014/2015. The percentage of teens who acknowledged that accessing cannabis “would be easy” fell nearly 40 percent between 2006/2007 and 2014/2015.

“Overall, cannabis use among Canadian youth appears to have peaked around 2008/09, with substantial declines over the past decade,” they concluded.

Adolescent marijuana use rates in the United States have followed a similar decline over the better part of the past two decades.

The researchers published separate data in January finding that few Canadians who consume cannabis meet criteria for problematic use.

Earlier this month, Canada legalized the use and sale of cannabis to those age 18 and older.


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “Trends in cannabis use over time among Canadian youth: 2004-2014,” appears in Preventive Medicine. NORML’s fact-sheet, “Marijuana regulation and teens use rates,” appears online.

 

Federal Government Reports Teen Marijuana Use In Colorado Still Has NOT Increased Since Legalization

Five years after Colorado voters decided to regulate marijuana for adult use, rates of current and lifetime use among high school students remain relatively unchanged and on par with national averages

COLORADO: A new federal report shows rates of teen marijuana use in Colorado have still not increased since voters decided to end marijuana prohibition in 2012 and start regulating it similarly to alcohol for adult use.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) found 19.6 percent of Colorado students are currently using marijuana (compared to 19.8 percent nationwide), down from 21.2 percent in 2015 and 22 percent in 2011, the year before voters approved Amendment 64. The rate of lifetime use dropped to 35.5 percent in 2017 (compared to 35.6 percent nationwide), down from 38 percent in 2015 and 39.5 percent in 2011.

The Colorado and nationwide data for 2017 are available at the CDC website. The CDC released the nationwide YRBS data late last week, and it appears to have released the state-level data sometime this week.

Statement from Marijuana Policy Project spokesperson Mason Tvert, who co-directed the campaign in support of Amendment 64:

“After five years of marijuana being legal for adults in Colorado, government surveys continue to find no increase in usage rates among high school students. This is very welcome news for Colorado, and it should be particularly welcome news for those who opposed the state’s legalization for fear it would lead to an explosion in teen use. Hopefully it will allay opponents’ concerns in other states where voters or lawmakers are considering proposals to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use. Colorado is proof that you can prevent teen marijuana use without arresting thousands of responsible adult marijuana consumers every year. Rather than debating whether marijuana should be legal for adults, let’s focus on how we can regulate it and control it to make it less available to teens.”

Report: Teen Marijuana Use, Treatment Admissions Fall In Washington State Post-Legalization

WASHINGTON: The regulation of adult cannabis use in Washington is not associated with any increase in teens’ marijuana consumption or abuse rates, according to a report to the state legislature compiled by researchers at the Washington State Institute for Public Policy.

Authors reported that rates of current marijuana use and lifetime marijuana use have fallen among young people since lawmakers enacted legalization in 2012. These declines were most pronounced among 8th and 10th graders.

Among adults, rates of cannabis use have increased. However, there has been no corresponding rise in adults’ use of alcohol or tobacco, or in the number of adults seeking treatment for marijuana abuse during this time period.

Researchers concluded: “We found no evidence that I-502 enactment, on the whole, affected cannabis abuse treatment admissions. … [and] we found no evidence that the amount of legal cannabis sales affected youth substance use or attitudes about cannabis or drug-related criminal convictions.”

Separate studies from Colorado and Oregon similarly report that the enactment of adult use marijuana regulations has not adversely impacted youth use patterns in those states.